Individual study: Blood values of adult captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) fed either supplemented beef or whole rabbit carcasses
Depauw S., Hesta M., Whitehouse‐Tedd K., Stagegaard J., Buyse J. & Janssens G.P.J. (2012) Blood values of adult captive cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) fed either supplemented beef or whole rabbit carcasses. Zoo Biology, 31, 629-641
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Carnivores: Feed whole carcasses (with or without organs/gastrointestinal tract)
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2012 of cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus in a safari park in Denmark, found that when fed whole rabbit, cheetahs had lower daily mean urea and zinc and higher vitamin A blood protein levels compared to being fed a supplemented beef diet. Cheetahs had a lower daily mean urea (12.8 mmol/litre) and higher vitamin A (96 ug/dl) blood protein levels when fed whole rabbit compared to being fed a supplemented beef diet (urea: 16.1 mmol/litre. vitamin A: 70 ug/dl). High levels of urea are potential indicator of chronic renal disease in captive cheetahs, but excessive vitamin A can result in skeletal deformities. Fourteen cheetahs, four housed individually and the rest group housed, were randomly assigned either a supplemented beef diet (1.2–1.6 kg/day/animal of chunk beef with 10 g/kg of multivitamin and mineral premix) or an un-supplemented whole rabbit diet (1.5–3 kg/day/animal). The cheetahs were acclimated to their diets for three weeks before blood samples were taken. Blood samples were collected from ten of the cheetahs. Three feed samples from both diets were collected for diet analysis.